I often have great Biblical and Theological differences with John Piper. However, this presentation of Romans 8 is wonderful. Enjoy and do have a Romans 8 New Year!
Facebook has some good stuff once in a while. I am “friends” with Francois Du Toit, a Bible scholar who lives in South Africa. He posts daily “Thoughts for (date).” Today’s full posting was very good. He has given me permission to re-post it here. You may see more of what he does and hear some of his teachings at www.mirrorreflection.net Enjoy!
“The law of faith reveals how the obedience of Christ cancelled out the effect of the disobedience of Adam. Rom.5:18 The conclusion is clear: it took just one offence to condemn mankind; one act of righteousness declares the same mankind innocent. 5:19 The disobedience of the one man exhibits humanity as sinners, the obedience of another man exhibits humanity as righteous.
“The immediate implication of Christ’s obedience releases an authority to us whereby we may destroy every stronghold and arrest every thought that keeps us enslaved to an inferior opinion or identity. (See 2Cor.10:3-5 where the King James Bible has the correct translation, ‘the obedience of Christ’, instead of the obedience to Christ like most other translations wrongfully suggest. This makes an enormous difference: to obey Christ keeps man restricted to the same limitations and frustrations he experienced under the law; his own inconsistency and inability bring about the inevitable sense of guilt and failure; whereas the obedience of Christ links man to the limitless success of Christ’s achievement on humanity’s behalf; He performed in our stead!) No contradiction to the implication of His obedience is tolerated. The moment of faith is like the effect of light dispelling darkness, effortlessly! Darkness does not erase the truth, it only hides from view that which already is, while light reveals.
“Are your actions and reactions law-inspired or faith-inspired? Many sincere Christians as well as their leaders do not know the difference. They would teach commitment, discipline and obedience with great enthusiasm and miss the point! Legalism only results in suspicion, disappointment, guilt, condemnation, distance and death! Paul defines his ministry and mission in Rom.1:5, “We have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of His Name in all the nations including yourselves.” He sees every nation included in the revelation of grace. In Eph.3:9 he puts it this way, “to make all men see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly realm. This was according to the eternal purpose, which He realised in Christ Jesus our Lord.” What God was able to communicate in Christ, is now made visible in man to be communicated in spirit realm. The mystery is ”Christ in you” Col.1:25-27. Law-inspired behaviour reduces the impact of your life to the natural realm, while faith realities has an immediate impact in spirit realm.
“The Greek word for obedience, upo+akoo, literally means to be under the influence of hearing. Paul understands that hearing inspires faith. Rom.10:17. In Acts 14:1 Luke says, “Paul preached in such a way that many believed.” Any action inspired by guilt, inferiority or vanity, results in more of the same, guilt, inferiority and vanity.”
This title seems contradictory. Yet, it is the way of faith. We are called to live in rest. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 TNIV
We know this is true when we turn to Christ (at least the first time), however, it is a statement of life-style. We are to rest (stand still) while we move forward through time.
I spent some time a number of years ago asking the Lord to reveal what He was trying to tell the Old Covenant Israelites when He emphasized the Sabbath so much. I knew (and know) the Old Testament is for us to learn and be encouraged by as well as it being “shadow” of the New Covenant. So what is the Sabbath a shadow of. Finally, I understood. It took a few months for me to settle my whirling mind into peace and rest, and then I understood.
“Sabbath” throughout the Old Testament is explaining to us who Jesus is! The Sabbath is Jesus! The Sabbath is a prophetic statement of Jesus! He is our rest and the one to whom we are yoked. This co-yoking is our rest in Him.
Stress, worry, an anxious heart and mind are not the way we were intended to spend our moments. We are to rest in Him. We do not know the number of our days, nor the circumstances we have in them, but we do know Him and the reality of His face and the kindness of His heart.
We automatically move forward in time as we live, now we can relax and stand still as we move. I am reminded of an escalator. Many times folk will run ahead on them and I usually feel like doing this in life. It just isn’t fast enough – got to get there – got to get stuff done. Yet, when I realize that I am intended, by my very nature in Him, to just relax and let Him move the time, while I stand still.
As we look forward to the New Year, may we remember to stand still while we move forward. That way, He does the work and we cooperate with Him – resting.
I pray your day is filled with our Lord Jesus Christ. Oh it is good (and extra) if you have family and friends to remember and to remember you. But when it all boils down to the basic concept – our Father loved you (and me) so much that He made certain we would never celebrate one moment alone. He is always near and always loving you. Stop for a moment just to sense His presence and delight in your shared moments.
May your enjoy that today! Have a blessed one in Him!
I have just completed March (more months as I have time – hopefully to have entire year up before New Year dawns) on the “Daily Bible Reading Schedule” on line at Psalm 19 Ministries. I have needed to pull it all back and put it in another form that transfers well to the web. I thank my husband for suggesting the form I am using. I think it will be helpful to follow.
The discipline (or dance it could be called) of reading the Bible systematically every year is not difficult. In fact, it actually takes only 15 minutes or so by the average reader. I am very average in my reading skills and do not consider myself rapid at all. Yet, this small amount of time has paid mega dividends in my understanding the whole counsel of God.
As I see it, there are basically three disciplines associated with the Word and more or less expected from Scripture toward us who read.
The First is to read. That is simple. This is not study, nor meditation. I often find folk who say they want to do it “right” and study it all out as they go. The only problem with that is that I have yet to discover one of those folk with a good over-all knowledge of the word. The reality is, they never have time to do it “right,” so it never gets done at all.
The Second discipline is to study. Well, this is a different discipline altogether. Here one is not concerned with order, but with digging into a selected text and seeing what it unfolds in its data. It takes much more than 15 minutes and is involving only a small amount of Scripture. This is also commanded. But it is not the same as “reading.”
The Third is the discipline of meditation. The Biblical discipline is the action of mulling a passage over and over in the mind and allowing it to penetrate the depths of the mind and soul. This, too, is commanded and very needful, but can be done at any point with any passage. One needs to combine some method of memorization to be able to do this effectively.
So I guess, we should insert a Fourth discipline – that of Memorization. There are many technics around to help here. Pick one and memorize, or simply use the passage enough in your thought and/or teaching and you will find it comes up memorized.
As one can see, there is much to be done with the Word, our Scriptures. However, I am primarily encouraging us to read. That’s it — just read. When we do that every day in a systematic way, I find study follows, and meditation becomes more or less automatic.
So go to the site, or some other site with a systematic schedule, and begin and have a wonderful year doing so! If you have done this before, by all means, do it again. Fifteen minutes is a small amount of time in anyone’s schedule. Let’s do this!
I am a big advocate of reading through the Bible every year. There is nothing I know of that can amass for the individual the over-all counsel of Almighty God than to read His Word systematically year after year. To this end, I am putting the schedule I wrote several years ago on our Psalm 19 Ministries web site. It is, as always, free to all. The only reason it is copyrighted is to protect the fact that it is not to be sold. If you enjoy it, feel free to print it out and put your own logo on it and distribute it at will. Just please list Psalm 19 Ministries as its copyright holder and then let me know you are using it. That will encourage me.
If you believe the word is “black marks on white paper,” then re-reading the same thing year after year gets old and boring. However, when you believe the word is a living entity and continues to unfold in revelation upon revelation in the heart and spirit, then you will want to avail yourself of its mysteries hidden for such a time as now. I encourage you to do so. May you be blessed as you listen to our Lord Jesus as you read.
It will take a bit of time to get the entire year on site, but hopefully it will be there before this year’s end.
There have been some blogs working on the premise that Christmas really isn’t (wasn’t) about Christ at all. So I thought I would just add a thought or two to the thinking pool.
Now really! Christmas is like any other time of the year – it is about who or what the individual makes it about. For me, Christmas is always about Jesus my Lord, the Christ of God. It as a day, is always celebrated with joy for His coming and all that follows. I know that is just me, but it is really up to the individual as to what any day or season is “about.”
For me, well, every day is about Him and every season. So if I choose to use all the popular Christmas images and music, that is really my choice. And, I do choose – Him – and the celebration of Him – every moment.
Enjoy the season – Merry Christmas over and over again.
And while we are on the subject, let’s not get stretched out of shape over “Happy Holidays.” We are evangelists after all, and one of the first steps is to be inclusive. My greeting never leaves my Lord out. He lives in me, so anytime I greet someone – He greeted them too. If “Happy Holidays” makes them open to listen to His heart through mine – Happy Holidays it will be.
But since this is my blog – MERRY CHRISTMAS!
The following quotation is from James 4:8-9 in a translation I have by an African scholar, Francois Du Toit. (His work is free on his web site: www.mirrorreflection.net). As with any translation, especially of this genre, there are some built in problems, so do not take this as a complete recommendation (I would say the same about The Message, The New Living Bible, etc…). However, in these translations there are some wonderful insights. I want to share this one with you and then some thoughts on one of his phrases.
4:8 Snuggle up to the warm embrace of God, experience His closeness to you, (In Christ He cancelled every definition of distance.) The sinner can come with all stains washed from his hands, the double-minded can come with a purified heart.
4:9 This is not a light-hearted yielding, realize the misery you have brought upon yourself with intense grief and weeping; replace your laughter with sincere sorrow, and your joy with shame. (Your superficial laughter and fake-joy can no longer hide the shame of your sins.)
Notice the translation of “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” “Snuggle up to the warm embrace of God, experiencing His closeness to you (In Christ He cancelled the very definition of distance). This is very good to get the feeling as well as the data across to us.
So often we have taught (and been taught) that our sin separates us from God (and that has some truth in the life of an unbeliever), that we never quite believe or experience what the Holy Spirit wants us to know.
The Lord Jesus Christ, so completely forgave our sins (obliterating them from existence) that nothing can ever separate Him from willingly drawing near (even to the sinner if they will call out to Him). He leaves “the ball in our court,” so to speak. We are to draw near when we choose. He has chosen – “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” There is no distance between you and Him, if you have received Him. He is there for each of us. Just imagine No Distance – WOW!
So, beloved one of the Lord, just turn your self to Him, and allow His presence to solve all the anxiety and uncertainty in life. He so loved you . . . Do not let that go unanswered. Sometimes we are startled by someone telling us they love us. I know I am when it comes, as it is often very unexpected. Yet, I do respond – never wanting such a statement to fall to the ground without my reception. So it is with the Lord, just draw near, or as this version says “Snuggle up,” and allow Him to do and be all He is for you. He waits just for you. And the really neat thing is – that it doesn’t matter how long it has been since you “snuggled” – He delights in you doing so.